@Saltrams, being British, and @faithlotus, an American, mentioned differences they discovered in their house and pet sitting travels that surprised them. I get a kick out of these. Please share your observations.
As an American, a few British product names I noted were washing up liquid is dish detergent, kitchen roll is paper towels, loo roll is toilet paper and bin liners are plastic trash bags. And the kitchen rolls are short, only maybe two to a package and people use them sparingly. There is no super-size everywhere as there is in the US but maybe that’s changing as Costco is now in the UK and making a splash. The Brits are much better recyclers than most Americans.
Don’t get me started on the roads and the mad search for gaps to pull into so cars coming in the opposite direction can get by.
The absence of air conditioners and the ubiquitousness of wood burners to supplement the heating required a bit of an adjustment. And it’s rare to find a clothes dryer, which they call a tumble dryer. Aga’s — I love them! But aren’t they very costly to run? Seems a little ironic considering the Brits are very careful to keep energy costs down. And they turned a couple of kitchens into saunas when I was there this summer. But… I love English style, especially the window treatments.
Well I haven’t done sits in the US yet @mars so my observations are from travelling only.
Why does the absence of A/C in Britain seem odd? There has never been a single day in the history of meteorology when the temperature in the UK got high enough to need air conditioning!!
Anyway, the things I remember from my times spent in the US (all happy times, I might add) were my disappointment when choosing a muffin for breakfast and receiving a cake more suited to afternoon tea; weak coffee - never getting a cup of coffee that was made from more than a single bean (probably rinsed and re-used); random people trying to guess where I was from (Germany was a favourite and Russian too. Why? I don’t speak a word, I am speaking English); fruit and veg sections of supermarkets that had impromptu showers of rain over them; the supermarket counters that don’t just sell you some raw prawns, they ask if they can cook them for you too; and last but not least, public toilets with huge gaps around the doors so there is no privacy at all
And I really love the USA and can’t wait to go back…
Oooh, nice idea @mars - definitely trash or garbage vs rubbish and the metro not the tube and a fanny pack not a bum bag always makes me smile. Your enormous fridges that you can put an entire body in, complete with integral ice makers. Double sinks in all your bathrooms versus tiny contraptions in British homes especially old ones. Huge range cookers. Restaurant meals that are supersized and dressing with everything. Smiley people with much better customer service than us Brits. Yes @Saltrams, we so don’t need aircon in the UK Grew up on an Aga and LOOOVEEEE them! Yes expensive to run but you’re a labradors best friend, can dry your wellies and wet walking clothes all the time, instantly cook or make great tea and the best marmite toast (with special Aga toasters no less) Typing this in the middle of a Sri Lankan downpour & wishing for that tea & toast
How about the US grocery stores? Those in the suburbs can be huge. We had an exchange student from Berlin, and he was amazed that a whole, long aisle would be dedicated to just ice cream. Like this, but one side all ice cream:
Well, I love that you love the UK and wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same? Remember that the English language has been bastardised by Americans, Australians etc but that’s fun. I love that Americans have ‘Fanny packs’ - I was shocked when I first heard that and Australians have ‘thongs’, which we Brits call ‘flip flops’, ‘thongs’ being rather uncomfortable knickers……
I’m an American about to embark on my second and third U.K. sits and have visited a number of times previously.
I started learning about British culture early, by devouring British literature as a kid. I’ve watched lots of British shows and movies as well. I learned all the things that have been mentioned on this thread at some point, but don’t remember when.
I don’t remember not having British influences in my life. I was born in Hong Kong and wouldn’t have even been named Maggie if it weren’t for Brits being there, LOL.
I daydreamed about living in a British village and did that as a sit soon after joining THS. Lovely experience near Cambridge and the HOs and I keep in touch.
I’ve worked with Brits over decades, across two porous industries — news and the tech / venture capital / startup world — starting in my 20s. I’ve also done advising with U.K. startups and have mentored and managed Brits.
One of my previous roles included our company acquiring a British startup, integrating them and growing their operations, so I’ve also hired Brits to work in the British market. My current company has a global workforce, so I work with Brits as well.
Last UK summer was pretty toasty, and on some days temp reached 40 C. Being from California we didn’t mind it too much, but busses and the underground were pretty hot even for us. This summer we packed really light and on some days we had to walk around the house wrapped in blankets.
I was checking out a group that focused on London travel during the last heat wave and countless Americans were saying how uncomfortable they were without central air. Many of us are privileged to have such at home, so the temperature can be exactly as we like indoors, no matter the weather outdoors. But even in cities like San Francisco, many homes don’t have air conditioning, because the weather rarely gets hot enough. That’s changing, though, because weather has become more unpredictable, deviating from norms.
I’ve come up against something interesting this week, not related to THS. I wonder if Brits are changing or whether I’m encountering exceptions.
I get recruited in various countries, because what I do can easily cross borders. This week, a British company tried to recruit me for a chief operating officer role and mentioned compensation. The CEO emailed me two days in a row, so I finally replied and said something vague, like sure we can chat sometime down the line. I also mentioned that I already earned more than they’d mentioned, to save everyone time. (It’s common for U.S. companies to pay better than many U.K. or European jobs.)
Well, the CEO replied and asked me specifically what compensation I’d need. It’s the first time in decades that anyone has been that direct that quickly with me about compensation, and that came from a Brit.
I work in the startup world with many foreigners and have not found the Brits to be particularly different from Americans generally. Maybe they’ve self-selected or adapted.